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People living close to a gym found to have smaller waists

People living close to gyms, swimming pools or playing fields and far from a fast-food outlet have smaller waists and lower BMI and body fat percentages, researchers say

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People living within a kilometre of physical activity facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and playing fields have smaller waists, lower body mass index (BMI) and lower body fat percentages than those with no nearby exercise facilities, researchers say.

Living further away from a fast food outlet was also associated with a smaller waist and lower BMI, according to the study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.


smaller waist size was found in people with at least six physical activity facilities near their home.

Source: Lancet Public Health

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine studied people aged 40-70, including waist measurements of 401,917 people, BMI of 401,435 people and body fat percentages of 395,640 people.

Those with better access to physical activity facilities were less overweight than those with access to fewer facilities. On average, those with at least six facilities nearby had a 1.22cm smaller waist circumference, a BMI 0.57 points lower and a body fat percentage 0.81% lower. The effect was stronger among women and people with higher incomes.

Compared with people living less than 0.5km from a fast food outlet, those at least 2km away had a 0.26cm smaller waist circumference. BMI and body fat percentage were also associated with proximity to a fast food outlet.

Mason K et al (2017) Associations between fast food and physical activity environments and adiposity in mid-life: cross-sectional, observational evidence from UK Biobank. The Lancet Public Health.

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